- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Justice Sonia Sotomayor reportedly won’t attend Supreme Court sessions in person because one of her colleagues won’t wear a mask.

According to a report Tuesday by National Public Radio, Justice Sotomayor is hearing cases and participating in the justices’ weekly conference only remotely because she fears the COVID-19 virus.

Citing “court sources,” NPR reported that Justice Neil M. Gorsuch is refusing to wear a mask and Justice Sotomayor does not “feel safe in close proximity to people who were unmasked.”

Justice Sotomayor has diabetes, a preexisting condition that makes people more vulnerable to hospitalization and death from COVID-19, especially if elderly. The justice is 67.

NPR reported that when the omicron variant began tearing through America, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. asked the other members to wear masks in deference to Justice Sotomayor.

All except Justice Gorsuch have, NPR reported.

Because seating is determined by rules of court seniority, Justices Sotomayor and Gorsuch customarily sit next to one another.

At last week’s first in-person session of the year, Justice Gorsuch was the only unmasked jurist while Justice Sotomayor participated from her chambers using a microphone setup.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer also was absent for that case, a spokesperson said, was the result of a COVID-19 test later discovered to be a false positive.

In that hearing on the Biden administration’s vaccination mandates, Justice Sotomayor stated false facts about the virus, including that “we have over 100,000 children, which we’ve never had before, in serious condition and many on ventilators.”

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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